BikingBest Beginner Bike Rides

Best Beginner Bike Rides

Are you an aspiring cyclist ready to take pedaling from the casual to competitive? Whether you’re into fat tires or skinny wheels, find your edge at one of these beginner-friendly races.

Rollin’ Round the River, Wilkesboro, N.C. • September 15

If you’re looking to increase your mileage, this relaxed cycling tour of the upper Yadkin River valley is a great place to start. The casual roll has distances for all abilities—from a family friendly 10-mile ride on the Yadkin River Greenway to a fast-paced 50-miler that takes a spin through the quiet agricultural community of Happy Valley. All rides (20- and 30-mile options also available) are flat and easy to follow with out-and-back routes, so novice cyclists can get comfortable going the distance.

Sorry Honey, I’ve Gotta Work Late Mountain Bike Series, Richmond, Va. • September 12, 19, 26  

You’re in luck if Wednesday is liver and lima beans night at your house. Skip dinner and head to Forest Hill Park for some post-work big wheel racing. Richmond’s urban singletrack is mellow and flowy, so even if you’re new to racing you won’t be too far from the pack. Plus, the loop-course races only last about 45 minutes, so the rides are more than attainable for newbies. Cyclocross races will also be taking place. 

Northern Neck River Ride, Kilmarnock, Va. • September 29

Tour the quiet peninsula on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay that sits between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, as the flat waterfront terrain offers an ideal opportunity for beginners to stretch out. Riders will depart from the Windmill Marine Resort and weave through the scenic back roads of the Northern Neck. Whether it’s the 100-miler, metric century, one-third century, or laid back family route, cyclists will pedal through small towns built during colonial times and relaxed coastal communities that will be feeling the breeze of early fall.  

Georgia BikeFest, Columbus, Ga. • October 12-14 

You’ll find rides for the whole family at this annual bike gala in downtown Columbus. There are both long and short route options offered each day on the gentle roads of the area’s rolling hills—with the main event being a fully supported century on Saturday. After long days of pedaling, cyclists can sleep under the stars at campsites along the Chattahoochee River.

Tour de Pig, Lexington, N.C. • October 13 

This is how you ride in true Southern style. The Tour de Pig is part of Lexington’s annual Barbeque Festival, so expect to have a plate of award-winning pulled pork waiting for you at the finish line. Before it’s time to dig in, earn your ‘cue by pedaling around the rolling roads of the Carolina Piedmont. Four different supported routes all take off from Davidson County Community College and include distances of 100K, 50K, 35K, and 20K.    

Gran Fondo of the Alleghenies, Warren, Pa. • October 13 

Wind through the remote corridors of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest at the height of foliage season. This colorful fall ride is perfect for cycling beginners looking to build mileage without a ton of elevation gain. The rural ride starting from the small town of Sheffield includes routes of 30, 60, and 100 miles with the longest route only gaining 3,500 feet. 

Six Hour Grind on the Greenway, Ft. Mill, S.C. • October 13

Casual mountain bikers looking to make the leap into endurance racing have a friendly option just south of Charlotte, N.C. At Grind on the Greenway, new racers can go solo or grab a partner and complete as many nine-mile laps as possible in six hours on the singletrack of the 2,300-acre Anne Springs Close Greenway park. Each lap carries a manageable elevation gain of 805 feet, so you won’t break the aerobic bank as you navigate the twisty Piedmont woods.

Back to the beach in Carolina


Long-distance running relays continue to be the latest rage. A new option takes adventurous striders from the North Carolina Triangle on a 200-mile slog to the beach. The Tuna Run 200 will feature teams of seven to 12 runners making the long haul from Lake Benson Park near Raleigh to the boardwalk of Atlantic Beach. The runners will switch off through 36 different legs of rural terrain between the Piedmont and the coast, where a celebration of tuna and cold beer awaits.


If you didn’t exhaust your vacation days this summer, tune up your road rig and spend a week pedaling from the peaks to the sandy beaches. Cycle North Carolina is organizing a Mountains to Coast Fall Ride that will take cyclists from Brevard to Carolina Beach through a week of riding from September 29 to October 6. Along the way, the chosen route will find riders stopping in Lake Lure, Shelby, Matthews, Rockingham, Lumberton, and White Lake. 

Places to Go, Things to See:

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